Sunday AM Update: Reports this morning say Drew Brees will play for the Saints despite only practicing on a limited basis Friday. Brees has a heel problem with a torn plantar fascia but apparently will start.
“It hurts to walk. It has its challenges,” Brees said earlier this week. “But we’ve come up with a good plan for this week, how to support it and how to make it as manageable as possible.”
The Saints will be without WR Marques Colston because of a chest injury suffered last Monday vs. the Lions but TE Benjamin Watson is expected to play.
For the Jaguars, don’t expect to see Telvin Smith or TJ Yeldon against the Saints. After not practicing all week both are listed as doubtful for the game.
JAGUARS STILL MOTIVATED?
With two weeks to go in the regular season, despite their 5-9 record the Jaguars are still in the playoff chase. They have to win both of their games and a lot of things have to happen in the division to help them, but mathematically, they’re still in it. Maybe they’re using that as motivation, but in reality, they know they’re not a playoff team. You can see it in their eyes and hear it ring a bit hollow in their voices when asked about the postseason.
That’s why it’s impressive to see the effort in practice and hear Head Coach Gus Bradley talk about their preparation this week. In most NFL cities this week they’re either preparing for the postseason or next season. Bradley is talking about ‘competition’ and ‘juice’ and this week, not about the future.
“Yeah, third down situations,” the Jaguars Head Coach said when asked about his practice routine this week. “We did a lot of good-on-good again in the red zone and out in the field, so they got another shot at it.”
He remained focused and specific about what they’re up to, 15 weeks into the season. “The part I like about it, it was highly, highly competitive, and there was a lot of juice, as we say, on the field for it. So that’s what you’d hope when you have those third-down situations, or whatever the situation period is, that the intensity rises because it’s not a service look. There’s great competition.”
Most coaches are talking about evaluation and getting ‘looks’ at guys this time of year. Others are talking about managing their stars on the field as they gear up for the playoffs. Bradley is remaining steadfast in his belief that going out there and ‘being our best’ is the main goal, regardless of the out come.
“Well, I think you give them enough to concentrate on.,” Gus explained when asked how he’s keeping the players focused this week on their game and not the happenings beforehand wince their matchup against New Orleans was ‘flexed’ to the 4pm slot.
“I think they know what we’re trying to get accomplished here, and some of the things that took place last week and in previous weeks that we need to get corrected.”
By the time they get to kickoff in the Superdome the Jaguars could know their postseason hopes are gone. So if they’ve been using that as motivation, what’s next?
“My hope is that’s what we’re trying to go get done on Sunday as well as being at our best,” Bradley said, referring to one of his favorite themes. “But I’d be naïve not to know that our players are going to be listening or watching it prior to us getting on the bus. But I feel pretty good just how they handled this week. So put a lot on them a lot of distractions-wise just to see where we’re at with things and very pleased with how they’ve handled it.”